Following an emergency or disaster, your clean drinking water may not be available.
Your regular water source could be cut-off or worse yet, compromised through contamination. It’s never too late to prepare yourself by building an emergency water supply that will meet or exceed your family’s needs during an emergency.
Determining Your Water Needs
FEMA recommends storing at least one gallon of water per person for three days, for drinking and sanitation. A family of four (4) would need to store twelve (12) gallons of water.
A normally active person needs about three-quarters of a gallon of fluid daily, whether it be from water and other beverages. However, individual needs do vary, depending on the individual’s age, health, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate.
When planning, take the following things into account:
- Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water.
- Your pets.
- A medical emergency might require additional water.
- If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary.
- If you live in very hot climate, individual water needs can double.
Safe Drinking Water Tips
- Never ration drinking water unless ordered to do so by authorities. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. Minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
- Drink water that you know is not contaminated first. If necessary, suspicious water, such as cloudy water from regular faucets or water from streams or ponds, can be used after it has been filtered or treated chemically.
- If water treatment is not possible, put off drinking suspicious water as long as possible, but do not become dehydrated. If water treatment is not possible, put off drinking suspicious water as long as possible, but do not become dehydrated.
- Do not drink carbonated or caffeinated beverages instead of drinking water. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.
Consider drinking water filters as an important part of your emergency kit. Drinking water filtrations straws and UV filters all work on the same principles. They take contaminated water and through a series of filters or a UV process turn it into safe drinkable water.
As an important part of your disaster kit or bug out bag, Water filter straws have the advantage over most other types of filtration devices. Because, water filtration straws are small, easy to use and can process great quantities of water.
FEMA recommends buying commercially bottled water. Store the water in the sealed original container in cool, dark place. If you must prepare your own containers of water, purchase food grade drinking water storage containers.
Before filling your water storage containers with chlorinated drinking water, thoroughly clean the containers with dishwashing soap and sanitize the bottles by cleaning with a solution of 1 teaspoon of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water.
FEMA also recommends that drinking water that has not been commercially bottled should be replaced every six months.
How To Treat Your Emergency Drinking Water
If you don’t have a means to filter your water or have used all of your stored drinking water and there are no other reliable clean water sources, it may become necessary for you to treat all suspicious water.
To avoid sickness and even death, treat all water of uncertain quality before using it for drinking, food washing or preparation, washing dishes, brushing teeth or making ice.
Contaminated water can contain microorganisms (germs) that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis.
There are many ways to treat water. Often the best solution is a combination of several methods. Before treating any water, let any suspended particles in the water settle to the bottom of a container or strain the water through several coffee filters or layers of clean.
Boiling Your Water
Boiling is the safest method of treating water. In a large pot or kettle, bring the water to a rolling boil for one full minute, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Allow the water cool before drinking.
Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This also will improve the taste of stored drinking water.
You can use household unscented liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household unscented liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.
Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it doesn’t, then repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. If it still does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
Other water purification chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 or 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.
While boiling and chlorination will kill most microbes in water, distillation will remove microbes (germs) that resist these methods, as well as heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals. Distillation involves boiling water and the collection of only the vapor that condenses. The condensed vapor will not include salt or most other impurities.
To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.
|Removes other contaminants (heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals)|